Remember to eat plenty of curry, folks – it could help stave off your dementia

Hot off the press – so it seems – comes the latest tip for staving off dementia.

Eat a curry once (or twice) a week.

Actually the advice is not as new as the latest burst of headlines suggests and Alf has been munching curries twice a week for …

How long?

Bugger. Can’t remember.

The latest report on the dementia-suppressing powers of a curry have been reported, among other media, by the UK’s Daily Mail.

It says scientists have found a spicy ingredient in curry could be an effective treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

Tests on fruit flies with a nervous disorder similar to the neurodegenerative illness found those given curcumin – the key chemical in turmeric used in everything from mild Kormas to the hottest Vindaloos – lived 75 per cent longer.

The findings were published in the journal PLoS One.

And they could help explain why rates of dementia are much lower among the elderly in India than in their Western peers.

A version of the story appeared on a website devoted to health stuff.

It says –

Curcumin, a substance extracted from turmeric, prolongs life and enhances activity of fruit flies with a nervous disorder similar to Alzheimers, a new study has found.

The study conducted at Linkoping University indicates that it is the initial stages of fibril formation and fragments of the amyloid fibrils that are most toxic to neurons.

For several years curcumin has been studied as a possible drug candidate to combat Alzheimer’s disease, which is characterized by the accumulation of sticky amyloid-beta and Tau protein fibres.

You can see why Alf and Mrs Grumble prefer the Daily Mail version.

Anyway, the Linkoping researchers wanted to investigate how the substance affected transgenic fruit flies – Drosophila melanogaster, which developed evident Alzheimer’s symptoms.

Five groups of diseased flies with different genetic manipulations were administered curcumin. They lived up to 75 percent longer and maintained their mobility longer than the sick flies that did not receive the substance.

Readers of that item have to get to grips with theories about how oligomers can instigate the disease process.

Alf would not know an oligomer from an amyloid fibril.

But he does know that scientists have been studying the ability of curry spices to fight Alzheimer’s disease for several years.

He stepped up his consumption of curries early in 2005 on learning that

Jan. 5, 2005 — The compound that gives the popular Indian spice curry its mustard yellow color may ward off Alzheimer’s disease.

Researchers at UCLA have shown that the curry pigment curcumin slows the formation of, and even destroys, accumulated plaque deposits in mouse brains.

Brain plaque, sticky clumps of beta-amyloid protein, are believed to play a key role in the development of Alzheimer’s dementia.

Curry is a dietary staple in India, a country where the rate of Alzheimer’s disease is among the world’s lowest. For centuries, doctors practicing traditional Indian medicine have safely prescribed curcumin in extract form for a variety of illnesses and ailments.

Researchers at that time were saying curry’s powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties made it a very attractive possibility for treating diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer, and heart disease.

In October 2006 Alf was reassured by another report that he was on the right track with his curry diet.

ScienceDaily (Oct. 3, 2006) — UCLA/VA researchers found that curcumin — a chemical found in curry and turmeric — may help the immune system clear the brain of amyloid beta, which form the plaques found in Alzheimer’s disease.

Published in the Oct. 9 issue of the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, the early laboratory findings may lead to a new approach in treating Alzheimer’s disease by enhancing the natural function of the immune system using curcumin, known for its anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties.

This time the researchers had used blood samples from six Alzheimer’s disease patients and three healthy control patients.

In 2009 studies were reported by the BBC, and the Indian Express.

Medical News Today carried a report at that time too.

Eating a curry once or twice a week could help prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The magic ingredient in curry is curcumin, a component of the spice, turmeric.

Professor Murali Doraiswamy, director of the Mental Fitness Laboratory at the Department of Psychiatry, Duke University Medical Center, Carolina, told delegates at the Royal College of Psychiatrists’ Annual Meeting in Liverpool that curcumin prevented the spread of amyloid plaques, found outside brain cells.

In fact a Google search throws up umpteen reports on studies into the dementia-combating properties of a good curry.

Wonder if anyone has got around to seeing if there is anything in whisky that would help keep dementia at bay, too.

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